“The Eyes of My Mother,” Nicolas Pesce’s debut feature film, is an independent/amateur production. The director, who opts for a suspenseful and psychedelic genre, does justice to his first attempt. Of course, being an independent film, it won’t receive sufficient attention, naturally. In today’s cinema, advertising is more important than merit, so even mediocre films are praised due to their marketing and visibility. Unfortunately, those who wield a camera and create stunning films are often overlooked. I dare say that “The Eyes of My Mother” has the most deranged, craziest character created after Norman Bates, the Joker, Annie Wilkes, Anton Chigurh, and Hannibal Lecter.
Francisca lives on the outskirts of a forest, far away from the city, with her mother and father. Her mother teaches her anatomy, providing her with education on stitching, organs, and care. The education her mother imparts to Francisca is meant to save lives, but Francisca’s method of using it is truly chilling. One day, when her father is absent, a man comes to their home and catches Francisca and her mother alone. With the arrival of that man, Francisca’s life changes completely.
The director’s use of black and white captures every aspect of amateurism. The decision to go with black and white is a consequence of this amateur approach, as the director believes he can’t handle colors. Throughout the film, encountering grain issues is possible. Moreover, the majority of the film consists of static shots with occasional handheld movements. However, despite this amateurishness, the director has done a remarkable job. The film, which takes place in a single location, makes excellent use of its limited resources.
The director didn’t create a plethora of characters. There are a total of seven characters in the film. One of them, Kika Magalhaes, deserves applause for her acting. Portraying the most captivating maniac of recent times, Kika has already won the Independent Film’s Best Actress Oscar in my heart with her haunting portrayal of Francisca. With her lifeless gaze, inner struggles, and the tortures she deems suitable for her victims, she is incredibly chilling. She is the last person you would want to encounter.
The director doesn’t explicitly explain whether Francisca’s character changes after the tragic accident at the film’s beginning or if she has always been this way. The film shows us just how terrifying her character is, and as she ages, she becomes even more dangerous. Francisca, who wouldn’t be a threat if left alone, can transform into a terrifying monster when approached. Her way of alleviating her loneliness is reminiscent of Norman Bates.
“The Eyes of My Mother” is a film that captivates with its eerie and unsettling atmosphere, although it has moderate suspense and few horror elements. The events depicted in the film can greatly disturb viewers. I am writing about it so that it can receive the attention it deserves. I watched the film as part of the !f Istanbul festival, and it was one of the two most beautiful films I saw during the festival in 2016.
Cast & Crew
director: Nicolas Pesce
writers: Nicolas Pesce
starring: Kika Magalhaes
USA | 2016 | 76 MINUTES |